Retail Stores To Transform To Theme-Based Approach Says New Avanade Study.
A recent study from Avande has further reinforced the view that Retailers need to move towards Theme-Based (experiential) shopping if they are to stay relevant. They expect by as soon as 2020 bricks and mortar stores will play a completely different role in the end to end buyer journey.
In a survey of over 150 global retailers, the results were somewhat surprising.
They showed that despite anticipating these changes and understanding the need to invest more heavily in tech, particularly in the case of the sales associate, ‘retailers do not plan to have store employees increase their emphasis on customer-facing activities in the next few years even though they foresee a push toward more theme-based retail concepts’.
With brick and mortar stores already highly disrupted over the last decade it is surprising that so many retailers are not embracing or seeking technologies that improve the customer experience and enhance their workforce- one of biggest opportunities to make a dramatic difference to sales outcomes.
The Avande report, which you can read in full here, highlighted some key recommendations following their analysis;
- The workforce will need to change to better align with new operational realities and frictionless customer experience expectations.
- Retailers will need to provide a true digital workplace to increase employee engagement and productivity, particularly as millennials become a bigger part of the talent pool.
- Retailers will need to provide fast, agile training to maximize performance among the growing temporary workforce.
- Retailers must adopt automation at the store level in terms of not just smartphones, but also smart merchandise, wearable devices, augmented reality, POS tablets and more.
Myagi echos the recommendations made in the Avande report with a particular focus on the role of the sales associate and their empowerment to maximize sales performance. A recent panel at the 2017 Retail Design Expo concluded that ‘people not technology will shape future stores‘.
We have already seen some amazing transformations of the pysical store, more and more retailers are seeing the benefits of creating full sensory experiential shopping to drive footfall. This being said one area where friction is yet to be reduced is the in store human to human interaction.
A huge factor in empowering the workforce is the implementation of this ‘fast, responsive training’. A shocking 83% of consumers felt they already knew more than the in sales associate when they were in store. If we want to truly move away from transactional relationships with consumers, this figure needs to drastically change. One of the fundamental ways we can do this is by optimizing sales associate knowldge and performance. Easy to access, online and App based training, delivered to sales associates promotes learning from content as they see it in their every day lives. It’s a proven and effective way to develop sales teams and arm them with the skills to moves from order takers to experience makers.
Over the past few years, more and more retailers are embracing this change and many have already implemented the recommendations from the report. If physical shopping locations are to remain a part of our future, rather than becoming a thing of the past, the need to embrace technology to create true experiential shopping should not be viewed as a recommendation but rather as a fundamental need, something that stores need to action before it is too late.
You can read more about how two major national retailers made fundamental changes to empowering their store level sales assocaites using technology. Blacks Outdoor Retailer in the UK and Mikes Bikes Cycle Retailer in the USA both adoptedinnovative ways to improve performance in their bricks and mortar stores.
If you would like to discuss any of the points raised above please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Myagi, or comment below, we welcome your input.